Jinglewus
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 4 months ago
#1
Hi, I am in Year 11, and since GCSEs are cancelled I have loads of time in my hands. I was wondering whether someone could recommend me books regarding astrophysics which I could use to bolster my personal statement to University and gain some knowledge from it as well.

Thank you!
0
reply
Sinnoh
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#2
Report 4 months ago
#2
John Gribbin's The Universe: A Biography is quite good. I read it.

As for related to physics but not necessarily astrophysics, there's the Theoretical Minimum series by Leonard Susskind - quite different to the usual popular science book in that the intention is to actually teach people properly and not just give a pretty explanation. So it is actually quite difficult to learn properly (classical mechanics sounds 10 times easier than it is). Also, The Order Of Time by Carlo Rovelli.

Try not to just turn it into a book report, the point of all this is to help answer why you want to study it.
Last edited by Sinnoh; 4 months ago
0
reply
Joinedup
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#3
Report 4 months ago
#3
(Original post by Jinglewus)
Hi, I am in Year 11, and since GCSEs are cancelled I have loads of time in my hands. I was wondering whether someone could recommend me books regarding astrophysics which I could use to bolster my personal statement to University and gain some knowledge from it as well.

Thank you!
By all means have a read... but I think admissions tutors are much less impressed by candidates name dropping books than people on TSR usually think.

If you've not done GCSE astronomy you could get a GCSE astronomy book for cheap - there's material in the GCSE spec that doesn't come up in A level
0
reply
Jinglewus
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#4
Report Thread starter 4 months ago
#4
(Original post by Sinnoh)
John Gribbin's The Universe: A Biography is quite good. I read it.

As for related to physics but not necessarily astrophysics, there's the Theoretical Minimum series by Leonard Susskind - quite different to the usual popular science book in that the intention is to actually teach people properly and not just give a pretty explanation. So it is actually quite difficult to learn properly (classical mechanics sounds 10 times easier than it is). Also, The Order Of Time by Carlo Rovelli.

Try not to just turn it into a book report, the point of all this is to help answer why you want to study it.
Hey, thank you so much for your advice. However, do you think as a student going to year 12 I will be able to understand those books? Thanks.
0
reply
Jinglewus
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#5
Report Thread starter 4 months ago
#5
(Original post by Joinedup)
By all means have a read... but I think admissions tutors are much less impressed by candidates name dropping books than people on TSR usually think.

If you've not done GCSE astronomy you could get a GCSE astronomy book for cheap - there's material in the GCSE spec that doesn't come up in A level
Ohh alright yeah. The only thing I'm worried about is that I can't write about it in my personal statement then because I won't be taking the GCSE for astronomy :/
0
reply
Joinedup
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#6
Report 4 months ago
#6
(Original post by Jinglewus)
Ohh alright yeah. The only thing I'm worried about is that I can't write about it in my personal statement then because I won't be taking the GCSE for astronomy :/
There's a different section for the qualifications you've taken - it'd show interest in the subject and introduce you to some stuff that you wouldn't meet on A level Physics.

Collins dictionary of astronomy is pretty good - it's not set out as a textbook but I think it's good to have. (Oxford dictionary of astronomy is IMO less good and the Cambridge illustrated dictionary of astronomy is IMO a coffee table book)

You might get something out of first year undergraduate textbooks, but there are probably going to be things that you won't follow until you've done calculus which is in A level maths (unless you want to self teach that too)
1
reply
Sinnoh
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#7
Report 4 months ago
#7
(Original post by Jinglewus)
Hey, thank you so much for your advice. However, do you think as a student going to year 12 I will be able to understand those books? Thanks.
They're meant for a general audience but it will probably be easier once you've done some calculus in A-level maths and particle physics in A-level physics.
I'm in first year at uni and the second half of the first Theoretical Minimum book is still a bit much for me. It goes from describing what a vector is, introducing basic calculus, and then a few chapters later it's content you'd only find in 2nd or 3rd year of undergraduate physics. But the first half is good
0
reply
Jinglewus
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#8
Report Thread starter 4 months ago
#8
(Original post by Joinedup)
There's a different section for the qualifications you've taken - it'd show interest in the subject and introduce you to some stuff that you wouldn't meet on A level Physics.

Collins dictionary of astronomy is pretty good - it's not set out as a textbook but I think it's good to have. (Oxford dictionary of astronomy is IMO less good and the Cambridge illustrated dictionary of astronomy is IMO a coffee table book)

You might get something out of first year undergraduate textbooks, but there are probably going to be things that you won't follow until you've done calculus which is in A level maths (unless you want to self teach that too)
ohh alright yeah thanks!
0
reply
Jinglewus
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#9
Report Thread starter 4 months ago
#9
(Original post by Sinnoh)
They're meant for a general audience but it will probably be easier once you've done some calculus in A-level maths and particle physics in A-level physics.
I'm in first year at uni and the second half of the first Theoretical Minimum book is still a bit much for me. It goes from describing what a vector is, introducing basic calculus, and then a few chapters later it's content you'd only find in 2nd or 3rd year of undergraduate physics. But the first half is good
Ohh okay, thanks. And what about John Gribbins book, do you think I will be able to understand that? Because I was just to about to buy it. Sorry I have so many questions XD
0
reply
Interrobang
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#10
Report 4 months ago
#10
It's not about name dropping books, it's about talking about why what you've read/watched/listened to was interesting
1
reply
Sinnoh
Badges: 22
Rep:
?
#11
Report 4 months ago
#11
(Original post by Jinglewus)
Ohh okay, thanks. And what about John Gribbins book, do you think I will be able to understand that? Because I was just to about to buy it. Sorry I have so many questions XD
It's been quite a while since I read it but I think its like: It makes sense while you're reading it, but if someone asked me to explain some of the stuff in there, errrr....
1
reply
Joinedup
Badges: 20
Rep:
?
#12
Report 4 months ago
#12
Here's a few more ideas...

Darkness at night - A riddle of the universe. Harrison, E.
Quite a pricey book, I borrowed it from the town library before lockdown. Not a general astrophysics book as such, it just looks at Olbers' paradox but has an accessible rundown on ancient cosmologies (and what turned out to be wrong with most of them) - There's some quite high level thinking (e.g. about how far you could see in a forest) but IIRC the actual maths should be manageable.
You never know - you might get an interview question about Olbers paradox.

Surely you're joking Mr Feynman. Feynman, R - not much physics content, but an enjoyable read about an important physicist.

QED. Feynman, R. - enjoyable read, paints over the hard maths
---
MOOCs - EdX.org and coursera.org have introductory astrophysics courses that don't require any hard maths - the ex did one a few years ago but I can't find it again (maybe it got dropped) - it had a very vivid description of gravitational collapse leading to type II supernova
---
Local astronomy groups, of course they're all cancelled atm due to covid but in happier times some of them have public lecturers and quite often they'll have a club library of books that members can borrow.
http://www.astronomyclubs.co.uk/

Keep an eye out for public lectures at local unis

Gresham College has some of it's public lectures on youtube
the RI does as well - here's a snippet they uploaded recently about convection https://youtu.be/B340nYj2pwA (convection is really important in astrophysics, but obviously you'll be attacking it with a lot more maths at uni level)
0
reply
Jinglewus
Badges: 7
Rep:
?
#13
Report Thread starter 4 months ago
#13
(Original post by Joinedup)
Here's a few more ideas...

Darkness at night - A riddle of the universe. Harrison, E.
Quite a pricey book, I borrowed it from the town library before lockdown. Not a general astrophysics book as such, it just looks at Olbers' paradox but has an accessible rundown on ancient cosmologies (and what turned out to be wrong with most of them) - There's some quite high level thinking (e.g. about how far you could see in a forest) but IIRC the actual maths should be manageable.
You never know - you might get an interview question about Olbers paradox.

Surely you're joking Mr Feynman. Feynman, R - not much physics content, but an enjoyable read about an important physicist.

QED. Feynman, R. - enjoyable read, paints over the hard maths
---
MOOCs - EdX.org and coursera.org have introductory astrophysics courses that don't require any hard maths - the ex did one a few years ago but I can't find it again (maybe it got dropped) - it had a very vivid description of gravitational collapse leading to type II supernova
---
Local astronomy groups, of course they're all cancelled atm due to covid but in happier times some of them have public lecturers and quite often they'll have a club library of books that members can borrow.
http://www.astronomyclubs.co.uk/

Keep an eye out for public lectures at local unis

Gresham College has some of it's public lectures on youtube
the RI does as well - here's a snippet they uploaded recently about convection https://youtu.be/B340nYj2pwA (convection is really important in astrophysics, but obviously you'll be attacking it with a lot more maths at uni level)
Ohh my gosh thank you soo much for all this. I have got loads to do now
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Current uni students - are you thinking of dropping out of university?

Yes, I'm seriously considering dropping out (95)
13.81%
I'm not sure (32)
4.65%
No, I'm going to stick it out for now (215)
31.25%
I have already dropped out (16)
2.33%
I'm not a current university student (330)
47.97%

Watched Threads

View All